I only have a brother and he doesn't have any children (yet). So, although I don't have any blood nieces or nephews, I do have what I call "love nieces and nephews". Whenever we have Auntie-Shellie-n-them time, something I mention (at least every third conversation) is "A bad platonic friend can do far worse damage than a bad girlfriend or boyfriend can ever do."
I know from which I speak because, while growing up, I had a female friend who was one of the worst things to happen to me, to date. It took years for me to break free from her toxicity, but if I were to summarize what she was in one sentence, it's this—she was an extremely emotionally abusive individual.
Take a moment to think about who you consider your friends to be.
I'm not talking about who you're connected to on social media or the folks that you're cool with and speak to every once in a while. I'm referring to the individuals who you tell your deepest secrets to, the ones who will not only loan but will give you fifty bucks when times are tight. The people who will sit up on the phone with you through a break-up, have encouraged you every time you've taken a calculated risk and affirms you every chance they get. Who are those folks?
Many moons ago, I took an intimacy class with a group of people. The premise of it was to learn how to cultivate emotional attachments in a healthy way. A married couple facilitated it and, for the most part, the only steadfast rules were 1) do the weekly homework that was assigned and 2) get an accountability partner within the group—only, make sure it's someone of the same sex rather than the opposite one.
An acquaintance and I went for lunch the other day. We did the usual banter and bullshit, and then the convo became a vent session where she shared that she felt she should be further along in her journey. While discussing her pain points, my journey was mentioned as a subtle comparison. Comparison isn't the thief of joy -- it kills the thing.
It's so easy to take our friends for granted; even the really good ones. In the back of our minds, we might be thinking they're doing what they're supposed to do as friends, so there is no need to acknowledge their consistency. At the same time, we can be so quick to communicate when they do something that doesn't sit right with us.